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Lind, James (1716–1794)

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

James Lind, the founder of British naval hygiene, was a Scottish physician who discovered the cause of scurvy, a dietary deficiency due to lack of vitamin C. His legacy as one of the first modern clinical investigators reflected his desire to improve the health of soldiers and sailors.

Lind was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Margaret Smelum and James Lind, a merchant. In 1731, Lind registered as an apprentice to George Langlands, an Edinburgh physician. Lind began his naval career in 1739 as a surgeon's mate and was promoted to surgeon in 1747.

While serving on the H.M.S. Salisbury in 1747, Lind carried out experiments on scurvy. He selected 12 men from the ship, all suffering from symptoms of scurvy and divided them into six ...

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